The start of a year is a good time to revise your existing content strategy. You have to continuously experiment with new-age content formats to keep grab and retain the attention of your target audience. Even if you are a newcomer in the world of digital content creation, you have likely thought of trying your hand at podcasting.
The interactive and engaging format of podcasting is an effective way of reaching a wider audience. It helps you deliver useful and informational content in a captivating yet fun way. Moreover, it reinforces your brand reputation and establishes you as an industry authority. Podcasting is often less resource-intensive compared to other forms of content creation, such as video production.
The growing popularity of podcasts is further evident from the fact that 32% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month. That is why it has emerged as such a sought-after way of content creation. However, before you start dabbling with the idea of your podcast series, it is crucial to ensure that you have the right equipment. Good podcasting equipment can go a long way to improve audio quality, thereby enhancing the listening experience.
The most obvious components of a podcasting kit include a microphone, a pop filter, a mic stand, etc. Many podcasters also use an audio interface or a mixer to simultaneously work on multiple tracks. However, one piece of that is often overlooked is the laptop.
Before we take a closer look at the best laptops for podcasting, let us understand why you need it at all.
Do You Even Need a Laptop for Podcasting?
Here’s the thing – having a laptop isn’t mandatory for hosting a podcast. You can get started with a mic, a good pair of earphones, and a mixer. However, any professional podcasting setup will require you to record and edit multiple tracks. Additionally, you may want to use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) or audio editing software for further post-processing.
That is why it is essential to use a computer for podcasting. It gives you the flexibility to edit audio tracks as well as add effects, music, and transitions once the recording is completed. Moreover, it lets you use Skype to host a podcast with a remotely-located guest speaker.
While a desktop works just as fine, the portability of a laptop makes it the ideal choice for podcasting. Having said that, it isn’t compulsory to buy a new laptop to start hosting your podcast series. If you’re a beginner, minor upgrades to your existing laptop can serve the purpose. However, if you want to plan a long-term podcast strategy, investing in a robust laptop is a good idea.
The only catch is that the sheer variety of laptops available in the market can be overwhelming and confusing. As a beginner, you may find it extremely difficult to identify the best laptop for podcasting. It is now time for us to take a look at the things to consider before buying a laptop for podcasting.
How to Select the Best Laptop for Podcasting?
Buying a laptop is one of the most critical decisions of your podcasting journey. As a beginner, you can’t afford to spend your hard-earned money on a fancy laptop with high-end specifications. It is, therefore, crucial to select an optimal one that meets the requirements of the DAW you will likely use. It is equally important to ensure that the laptop will be useful in the long-run.
Here are a few factors you should take into account:
RAM or Random Access Memory is the amount of data that a computer can hold in its memory for processing at once. Any data that isn’t stored on RAM needs to be retrieved from the internal storage i.e. hard drive. Your computer’s processor has to wait for this data to be available before processing it. Since hard drive seek times are often higher, it leads to unexpected delays even when you’re working with a high-speed processor.
That is why it is crucial to use a laptop with a higher RAM. Higher the RAM, better your laptop’s ability to handle multiple audio tracks, editing software, and plugins. For amateur podcasters, it is recommended that you select a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM to begin with. If you intend to become a professional podcaster or sound designer in the future, a laptop with 16GB of RAM might be a smarter investment.
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) acts as the brain of a computer. It lets a computer process various data, carry out lengthy calculations, and perform tasks. A high-speed processor lets your computer carry out these tasks quickly. This, in turn, means it can perform more tasks within a shorter span and is capable of processing multiple audio tracks.
Apart from processing speed, you should also look into the number of cores in your CPU. A multi-core processor means you have more than one processor unit to carry out the tasks. This, in turn, enhances its computing capability and lets you use high-end plugins and DAW. This also means your computer can handle multiple audio tracks at a much faster speed.
The choice of processor largely depends on the type of DAW you want to use. For instance, Avid Pro Tools requires a quad-core processor. However, if you’re a beginner, you will find various alternative software that works on dual-core or triple-core processors. For optimal performance, it is recommended that you opt for a triple-core processor with a processing speed of at least 2.5GHz.
Latency refers to the time that lapses between input and output of an audio signal. In other words, it is the time an audio signal takes to enter from a microphone and be heard on the monitors. It is also the delay between pressing the play button on your computer and hearing the sound on your monitors.
Needless to say, the best laptop for podcasting must have low latency. If the latency is above 20 ms, it becomes noticeable to the human ear. As long as your laptop has a high-speed processor and sufficient RAM, you need not worry about latency.
Computers using hard disk drives (HDD) for internal storage often have higher seek times. This can cause a delay in processing an audio signal, thereby resulting in higher latency. An effective solution is to work on a laptop that uses a Solid State Device (SSD) for internal storage. SSDs store data digitally instead of writing it onto a disk, resulting in faster seek times.
Moreover, laptops with SSD storage cause less noise resulting in a noise-free recording environment. The only slight drawback of SSD systems is that they are expensive and have lower storage capacity. If you don’t have a high budget, look for a laptop that has a HDD with a built-in SSD. While the HDD is used for internal storage, the SSD is used to pre-load data for faster processing.
The choice of the operating system is more personal than professional. You will find a plethora of suitable options for both Windows and Mac OS. Select the one you are more comfortable working with. You should also take your budget into account as Mac devices tend to be more expensive than their Windows contemporaries.
Another factor you should consider is your preferred audio editing software. Some software such as Logic Pro and GarageBand work only on Apple devices. However, you will find alternatives such as Audacity and Adobe Audition that work across different platforms.
DAW or Digital Audio Workstation is simply the software you use to record, process, and edit audio tracks. The choice of DAW influences the type of computer you select, including its RAM, processing speed, and OS. Pro Tools, the industry standard for audio and music production, is quite resource-intensive and needs a quad-core processor.
However, if you’re a beginner or amateur podcaster, you will likely begin with less resource-intensive software like Audacity, Adobe Audition, etc. While Adobe Audition requires a multi-core processor and at least 4GB of RAM, Audacity just needs 2GB of RAM and 1GHz processing speed. Irrespective of the DAW you use, you should take a closer look at its minimum requirements and recommended requirements.
A system that fulfills the minimum requirements will work fine for your DAW of choice. However, a computer that is closer to the recommended requirements will last you in the long-run. Even though it is going to be more expensive, it will be better equipped to handle software upgrades.
Apart from editing software, you will likely use at least a few plugins while processing your audio files. For instance, you may want to use plugins to simulate musical instruments. You could also use plugins to add sound effects and transitions.
It is crucial to remember that each of these plugins is resource-intensive and requires a robust processor. Additionally, such plugins need more RAM to work on multiple audio samples without causing significant latency. Thus, you should have a clear idea of the audio plugins you intend to use before investing in a laptop for podcasting.
Upgrade vs. Replace
So, you have convinced yourself that you need a powerful laptop to kickstart your podcasting journey. However, before you hunt the market to find the best laptop for podcasting, you should give your existing laptop a try. You might be better off upgrading the RAM and replacing the HDD with an SSD.
It might be wiser than burning a hole in your pocket for an expensive laptop. You could use that extra money to invest in a better microphone or earphones. If you decide to upgrade your existing laptop, make sure you select compatible RAM and SSD. Unless you have adequate technical skills, take help from a professional to replace your install them.
You should only consider buying a laptop for podcasting if your current laptop doesn’t have an advanced processor. Other factors such as the screen size, display quality, GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) may also influence your decision. Moreover, the number and type of USB ports on your laptop is something you should take into account.
While it is difficult to unanimously select the best laptop for podcasting, we have compiled a list of the ones that make the cut.
Best Laptops for Podcasting
A robust laptop should be an integral part of your podcasting equipment kit. You can use it for a wide array of tasks, ranging from audio recording to processing and editing. Here is a list of the best laptops for podcasting in 2020:
1. Apple MacBook Pro
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Apple is known for building some of the most powerful laptops for audio and video editing. Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose between the 13” and 16” MacBook Pro. If you travel a lot and prefer to squeeze some editing time during your journey, the 13” model is more suited for you. It features a quad-core 8th Gen Intel i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage.
However, if you record out of your home or a studio, the latest 16” MacBook Pro with Touchbar is highly recommended. While it comes at a higher price, the 16” model boasts a wide range of superior features. Apart from an impressive 16-inch Retina Display, it comes with 16GB of RAM (expandable up to 64GB). The most distinguishing feature, however, is the 6-core 9th-Gen Intel i7 processor with a processing speed of 2.6GHz.
It features 512GB of SSD storage and a Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of video RAM. The MacBook Pro 16” also offers an impressive battery backup of 3 hours even when you use it for rigorous recording and editing. For lighter use such as viewing and streaming, the battery lasts for up to 10 hours. A higher version comes with 1TB of SSD storage and an 8-core Intel i9 processor.
Apart from the steep price point, the main drawback of MacBook Pro 16” is the lack of versatile USB ports. It only comes with four USB Type-C ports. This means you need an external adapter to connect USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices.
Quick Overview (of MacBook Pro 16” with 512GB SSD storage and 6-core i7 processor):
|Price:||$2199.99 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||2.6GHz 9th Gen 6-core Intel i7 processor, 16GB of built-in RAM (expandable up to 64GB), 512GB of SSD storage, 3-hour battery backup (for intense recording and editing), Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card|
|Pros:||High-speed processor, expandable RAM, SSD storage, decent battery life, portable|
|Cons:||Expensive, features only USB Type-C ports|
2. ASUS VivoBook F510UA
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If you are looking for a podcasting laptop under $750, ASUS VivoBook F510UA is a good bargain. It features a robust 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor with a processing speed of 1.6GHz (turbo boost up to 3.4GHz). It also comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and uses a combination of a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD for internal storage.
One of the most impressive features of this podcasting laptop is its 15.6-inch Full HD wide-view display with an 80% screen-to-body ratio. It causes minimal reflection making it ideal for using outdoors. Weighing just 3.7 pounds, it is convenient to carry around. However, the mediocre plastic build leaves much to be desired.
ASUS VivoBook comes with an ergonomic chiclet keyboard and an efficient fingerprint scanner. It also offers a decent battery backup of 4 hours while recording and editing. Moreover, it features a wide range of ports that let you connect various devices. There is one USB Type-C, one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot.
|Price:||$735.03 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||1.6GHz 8th-Gen i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, internal storage uses 128GB of SSD and 1TB of HDD, 15.6-inch Full HD display with an 80% screen-to-body ratio, versatile USB and HDMI ports, fingerprint scanner, 4-hour battery backup|
|Pros:||Affordable, impressive display with anti-reflection properties, decent performance, lightweight & portable|
|Cons:||Mediocre plastic build, slow hard drive|
3. Acer Aspire 5
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Priced under $500, Acer Aspire 5 is a feature-rich podcasting laptop for beginners. It boasts a quad-core 8th-Gen i5 processor that offers processing speeds up to 3.9GHz. Moreover, it includes 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with narrow bezel lets you work for long hours without straining your eyes.
This podcasting laptop offers an average battery backup of 5 hours. It comes with a wide range of connecting ports, including one USB 3.1 Type-C Gen-1 port, two USB 3.1 Gen-1 Ports, and one USB 2.0 port. It also includes an HDMI Port with HDCP Support. The only slight drawback is that it lacks an SD card slot.
|Price:||$487.59 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||Quad-core 8th-Gen i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage, 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with narrow bezel, 5-hour battery backup|
|Pros:||Suitable for beginners, decent battery life, value for money, portable|
|Cons:||No SD card slot, limited internal storage|
4. HP Spectre X360
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This impeccable 2-in-1 laptop by HP features a stunning 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen display. The convertible design lets you use it as a tablet for writing and browsing. It has a powerful quad-core 8th-Gen Intel i7 processor with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. It also boasts a wide range of connecting ports, including a Thunderbolt USB port, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot.
HP Spectre X360 is priced on the higher side, making it out of reach for most beginners. However, if you intend to take up vlogging and video production along with podcasting, this laptop is a wise choice. The only drawback is its poor battery life. With rigorous post-processing tasks, the battery only lasts for around 2 hours.
|Price:||$1236.96 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||1.8GHz 8th-Gen i5 processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, convertible design, 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen display|
|Pros:||Impressive performance, versatile connecting ports|
|Cons:||Poor battery life, expensive|
5. Dell XPS 13
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This laptop is a close competitor of HP Spectre X360 in terms of its features. It uses the same processor and offers a 13.3-inch 4K touchscreen display. It also includes 16GB of DD3 RAM, making multitasking a cakewalk. Moreover, Dell XPS 13 offers 1TB of SSD storage and an average battery life of 7 hours. This is a significant improvement over HP Spectre X360.
While it has three USB Type-C ports, two of them being Thunderbolt, it lacks a USB Type-A port. You need an external adapter to connect Type-A devices. Another slight drawback is the awkward webcam placement, just below the display. While it may not affect your podcasts, you will face issues when recording videos.
|Price:||$1236.96 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||1.8GHz 8th-Gen i5 processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, 13.3-inch 4K touchscreen display, 7-hour battery backup|
|Pros:||High-speed and multitasking capabilities, portable, impressive battery life|
|Cons:||Expensive, no USB Type-A ports, weird webcam placement|
6. ASUS ZenBook UX331UA
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Powered by the robust 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor, ASUS ZenBook UX331UA is a mid-range podcasting laptop for beginners. 8GB of low-power DDR3 RAM and 256GB of SATA SSD storage ensure that it carries out multiple complex tasks without any interruption. It has a stunning 13.3-inch Full HD wide-view display with a nano-edge bezel.
The battery offers an impressive backup of up to 10 hours. Its sleek design and aluminum body make it extremely lightweight and portable. The only catch is that the screen brightness is limited to 226 nits making it unsuitable for outdoor usage.
|Price:||$799.99 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||8th-Gen i5 processor, 13.3-inch Full HD display with nano-edge bezel, aluminum body, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 256GB of SSD storage|
|Pros:||Suitable for beginners, decent performance, good battery life, lightweight|
|Cons:||Not suitable for outdoor usage|
7. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
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This versatile 2-in-1 laptop by Microsoft features the latest 10th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GD of SSD storage. Its ultra-slim convertible design with a 12.3 PixelSense touchscreen display makes it ideal for use as a laptop and a tablet. The biggest highlight of Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is its powerful battery with a backup of more than 10 hours. It has both Type A and Type C USB ports; none of the Type C ports are Thunderbolt.
|Price:||$899.99 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||10th-Gen i5 processor, 12.3-inch PixelSense touchscreen display, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, 10.5-hour battery backup|
|Pros:||High-speed performance, suitable for multitasking, impressive battery life, portable|
|Cons:||None of the Type C USB ports is Thunderbolt|
8. Dell XPS 15 7590
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This high-end Dell laptop is suitable for podcasting as well as video editing. Featuring a 9th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage, it offers impeccable processing speeds. The 15.6-inch 4K anti-reflective display also works as a touchscreen and has a very narrow bezel. Dell XPS 15 7590 also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 4GB of video RAM, and a long-lasting 97Whr battery.
|Price:||$1749.99 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||9th-Gen i5 processor, 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen display, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of video RAM, 97Whr battery|
|Pros:||Impressive performance, narrow-bezel screen, long battery life|
|Cons:||Expensive, not suitable for beginners|
9. Razer Blade 15
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Although Razer Blade 15 is primarily meant for avid gamers, it is equally useful as a laptop for podcast editing. It features an 8th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM that enhances its performance and speed. Moreover, it uses a combination of 126GB SSD storage and 1TB HDD storage to further improve its performance. It also boasts a 15.6-inch Full HD edge-to-edge display, multiple USB and HDMI ports, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.
|Price:||$1498.09 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||8th-Gen i7 processor, 15.6-inch Full HD edge-to-edge display, 16GB of dual-channel RAM (expandable up to 32 GB), 128GB of SSD storage with 1TB of HDD storage, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060|
|Pros:||High-speed performance, versatile connecting ports, compact design|
|Cons:||Expensive, no SD card slot|
10. Lenovo Thinkpad T480
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Lenovo Thinkpad T480 has all the standard features you’d expect from a mid-range podcasting laptop. However, its most distinguishing feature is the use of PowerBridge technology. It lets you switch from your current battery to a new one without shutting the system down. This makes it the ideal laptop for podcast editing while you’re on the move.
|Price:||$825 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||8th-Gen quad-core i5 processor, 14-inch HD anti-glare display, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, PowerBridge Technology, Fingerprint scanner|
|Pros:||Great power backup (with extended battery), value for money|
|Cons:||Heavier build, dull screen|
11. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
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This versatile 2-in-1 laptop by Samsung boasts a sleek design with a 15-inch Full HD touchscreen and an ultra-thin bezel. It features a 1.8GHz 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 processor with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. The high-speed performance of Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is perfectly complemented by its long-lasting battery life. While the 13-inch model comes at a lower price, it offers a lower RAM and doesn’t have the best graphics processing capabilities.
|Price:||$1063 (on Amazon)|
|Key Highlights:||1.6GHz 8th-Gen i5 processor, 15.6-inch Full HD touchscreen display, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB of SSD storage|
|Pros:||Decent performance, Impressive battery life|
In today’s diverse market, selecting the best computer for podcasting can be painstaking. Even before you think of buying a laptop for podcast editing, you should consider upgrading your current laptop. If you choose to buy a new one, make sure you select a podcasting laptop that is compatible with the DAW you intend to use. If your budget permits, invest in a slightly better laptop that will last you in the long-run.
What is your favorite laptop for podcasting? Share your views in the comments section below.
Richa describes herself as an avid dreamer and a curious soul! She is a certified Content & Search Marketing Specialist from Digital Marketer, USA. With an experience of 5+ years as a content marketer and researcher, she is in love with Digital Breakthroughs, Content Marketing, Startup Strategies and so much more.